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Fuel Subsidy: Buhari Plunged Nigeria Into Deeper Crisis – Northern Groups Hail Tinubu




Fuel Subsidy: Buhari Plunged Nigeria Into Deeper Crisis - Northern Groups Hails Tinubu
Former President Muhammadu Buhari

The Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) has faulted the administration of former President, Muhammadu Buhari, for maintaining a regime of fuel subsidy which, according to them, was a fraudulent practice that further plunged Nigeria into deeper crisis and mass suffering.

Naija News recalls that Nigeria’s newly sworn-in leader, President Bola Tinubu, announced while delivering his inaugural speech on May 29 that fuel subsidy is gone.

He noted that the year’s budget does not accommodate subsidy, and the practice is no longer tenable.

Speaking on the latest development while reading from a communique after a One-Day Town Hall Meeting in Kaduna, the spokesman of the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Sulieman, said President Buhari, instead of abolishing fuel subsidy and focus on remarkable projects, pursued unpopular deregulation programmes.

The CNG, which comprises 150 Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the Northern part of the country, also noted that the former administration spent $15.6 billion annually on subsidies. A fund it said could have been used in building a railway from Lagos to Kano, Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, and Lagos to Calabar combined.

The group insisted that the N2.91 trillion spent by the Federal Government on petrol subsidy between January and September 2022 was largely responsible for the country’s dwindling public finances.

According to the communique, available data has exposed the unforgivable level of disabling corruption perpetrated with the subsidy regime in favour of a few individuals at the expense of public projects that cost less than Nigeria’s $15.6bn annual subsidy.

It added that the amount spent annually on subsidy was far more than what is required to build a railway from Lagos to Kano, Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, and Wembley-like stadiums in each of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones.

The communique read: “Successive governments in Nigeria have tried and failed to remove or cut the subsidy, which has greatly constrained Nigeria’s development goals, as the subsidies mostly only benefit a few wealthy households.

“Concerned by the backlash from some quarters that followed the announcement of the withdrawal of the subsidies by the President, CNG convened a one-day stakeholder roundtable of all its 150 affiliates and other northern interest groups at the Arewa House, Kaduna today, June 6, 2023.

“At the end of the Townhall discussions, the following inevitable observations were drawn: Generally, the subsidy is an evil that previous governments groomed and fed fat on all these years to the detriment of the masses.”

The group also alleged that subsidy payments were used to steal public funds.

It said, “The oil subsidy has been a conduit pipe for siphoning public funds for the benefit of a very few members of a powerful cartel at the expense of the entire nation.

“That since assumption of office, the former President Muhammadu Buhari had made several promises of rehabilitating the nation’s refineries, all of which he failed to fulfil. Instead, he pursued unpopular deregulation programmes while maintaining the fraudulent subsidy regime and further plunging the nation into deeper crisis and mass suffering.”

Exploiters Not Happy With Tinubu’s Declaration On Fuel Subsidy Removal

According to the CNG, Tinubu’s declaration on May 29 that fuel subsidy is gone did not go down well with the exploiter class that benefits from the subsidy budgets.

“Since Tinubu announced the removal of the fuel subsidy, the cartel that has been reaping its benefits at the expense of the suffering masses, has waged a campaign about the fictitious knock-on effects that it will have on the daily lives of Nigerians.”

The groups, therefore, called on the Nigerian masses to be less amenable to the damaging propaganda campaigns by the ‘merciless cartels’ that have been impoverishing the nation while pocketing the subsidy proceeds for their benefits and those of their immediate families,” the northern group observed.

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